Preaching Connection: Christ

Reading for Preaching

A Month of Sundays

Updike offers a fascinating set of musings on the miracles of Christ, (p. 100) “this most tender flesh of the New Testament.” (p. 102): “There once thrived, in that pained and systematic land of Germany, a school of Biblical scholarship that sought to reduce all of the Biblical miracles to natural happenings. The Red Sea’s...
Explore

Under God: Religion and American Politics

On Jesus and Judas at the Last Supper. “Jesus seems complicitous in Judas’ sin, if not provoking it. Indeed there is an odd intimacy in the exchanges of the two men at the final supper and in the moment before Jesus’ arrest. Only these two know what is really happening. They seem to fence over...
Explore

The Divine Trinity

“The gospels report Jesus as referring to his own reputation as a gluttonous man and a winebibber, but never think it necessary to refute the charge. It would not have taken much to twist the Zaccheus episode into living it up with the exploiting classes instead of identifying with the dispossessed. Nor would many a...
Explore

Additional content related to Christ

Proper 29A: Christ the King Sunday; Damned if You Don’t

When a teacher announces that the material for the day will appear on a test, there is usually a rustle of paper, a snap of pens, and some special attention given to the lesson for that day. The same thing is true of life. If life is merely a languid succession of days and years,…

Explore

Luke 4:1-13

Comments, Questions and Observations Couched between our text for this Sunday and the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3.21-22) is Jesus’ genealogy. The words immediately before Jesus entering the wilderness are, “the son of Adam, the son of God.” (3.38) Thus, not only can we read Jesus’ forty days of trials in the wilderness alongside the…

Explore

Luke 5:1-11

Fear, as we all know, is a powerful motivator. History is full of proof of fear’s ability to keep awful people in power—and if we look deep enough, we also see how awful people are motivated by their own fears. But we also know from the biblical account that not all fear is a reaction…

Explore

John 2:1-11

This text is an example of how we can miss important revelation from God if we get too caught up in, for lack of a better term, the humanness of the Gospel narratives. Or, more precisely, maybe it’s more that our cultural baggage and experiences that get us stuck when we read these texts. I…

Explore

Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17

The Lectionary has us skip the drama of Ruth 2 and then dips in briefly to Ruth 3 for the connection with Boaz and then zooms ahead to the very end of Ruth 4 for the “happy ending” of the tale and how it all points forward to King David.  As preachers, we are either…

Explore

Romans 8:6-11

Romans 8: is there a better loved, more soaring passage in the New Testament than this one?   There is much here to linger over, savor, celebrate.  The Lectionary carves out only six verses but the truth is, Romans 8:1-17 form such a logical—and also lyric—unit that I would suggest reading all 17 verses, and indeed,…

Explore

Matthew 11:2-11

“The War on Christmas.”  We have heard about this a lot in recent years.  Some while back people assailed Starbucks for removing the word “Christmas” from their holiday coffee cups.  Some were upset some years ago that the White House wished a blanket “Happy Holidays” instead of specifically mentioning Christmas.  And some while back the…

Explore

Jeremiah 23:1-6

All over the world the church celebrates the reign of Christ the King today.  For many of us, that is very good news because we live in places where there is huge controversy over the leadership of our countries.  Whether it’s Hong Kong where protestors clash with police over increasing communist control, or it’s Canada…

Explore

Isaiah 65:17-25

I love how the Lectionary brings the church year to a close.  Next Sunday, of course, is the celebration of the reign of Christ the King.  This Sunday we get a dramatic vision of the completion of the work of the King with this prophecy from Isaiah 65. It’s a welcome relief from our long…

Explore

John 10:22-30

For the last 12 or so years, few names in the world have been more famous than that of Barack Obama.  Not so long ago, however, that was not the case.  Indeed, not so very long ago almost no one had ever heard of Obama.  A scant four years before he managed to get nominated…

Explore

Isaiah 50:4-9b

Clearly, the composers of the Revised Common Lectionary thought this little snippet of Scripture was perfect for Palm Sunday because they have selected it for all three years of the preaching cycle.  I’m not sure your people will see it that way, because it is obviously more about Christ’s suffering than about his Triumphal Entry. …

Explore

Luke 4:1-13

“He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them, he was hungry.”  Luke 4:2 I’ll say. This curious line in verse 2 is easy to glide past en route to the real drama to come once the devil shows up to woo Jesus to his side.  At best we see this as…

Explore

Luke 4:1-13

“He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them, he was hungry.” Luke 4:2 I’ll say. This curious line in verse 2 is easy to glide past en route to the real drama to come once the devil shows up to woo Jesus to his side. At best we see this as…

Explore

Ephesians 1:3-14

On this first Sunday of the New Year, it can feel like we are entering “the bleak mid-winter.” All the holiday celebrations are over, so now it’s just one cold, grey, snowy day after another, at least here in West Michigan. But that’s not where our lectionary lesson from the Epistles takes us today. This…

Explore

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Two Temples. Two Boys. One boy apparently lost. One boy apparently given away. But, of course, the one boy is not at all lost but is at home in the Temple doing his real Father’s work. The other boy is making his home in the Temple and slowly discovering what may well be the focus…

Explore